Books can send messages to reach the subconscious levels of the reader's mind. These subconscious messages are learned associations from past experiences that use color and texture as means of expression. This perception is not with the eyes, but more with the observer's mind. Therefore, when the book buyer is browsing in a bookstore and the suggestion that one experiences from looking at the book does not match one's subconscious message, the book is quickly put down. The principal object of this study is the effect of color and texture used in cover design of books on the subconscious mind of the book buyer. It was proposed to examine whether or not the book buyer makes the associations which are presently being used as marketing tools in the publishing industry. Two experiments were conducted. The first tested the three aspects of color (hue, value, and chroma), and their relationship to expected associations. Two recently pub lished books currently found on the market were used with the publisher's permission. The colors of the background were altered four ways for each aspect of color. The covers were printed in the Screen Printing Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology. The second experiment examined the textural associations of book covers. One book was used for this test and its cover texture was altered four ways. The four books needed for this test were made at Eckert Gene, Inc., bookbinders, located in Rochester, New York. The survey was given in the Marketplace Mall in Rochester, New York. A random sample of 75 respondents was tested in an environment which simulated the same lighting found in a mall bookstore. To be eligible the respondent must have purchased a book within the last six months and passed the test for color-blindness. The respondent was also given a questionnaire which provided the researcher with additional pertinent information about each respondent. After the questionnaire, the respondent observed the four selections of books and was asked the best and the worst choice. The data collected was analyzed statistically utilizing the Chi Square test. Conclusions were drawn from the analysis. Many sources believe market research in the book pub lishing industry is insufficient, and even the most basic comparisons are needed. The results show that subconscious associations were made by the participants in some of the cases, while in others the outcome was completely opposite what was expected. The predictability or lack of predictability of a study such as this one supports the need for more involved experiments. The printing/publishing industry needs to examine and consider the wants and desires of the consumer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Books--Marketing--Technique--Evaluation; Color in advertising--Technique--Evaluation; Color--Psychological aspects--Testing--Evaluation; Book covers--Evaluation

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Johnson, Herbert

Advisor/Committee Member

Brown, Joseph


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z283 .M354 1990


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